Following news last week that life expectancy in Los Angeles County was at an all time high (with 80-years-old being the new average), county health officials this week gave the reasons for L.A.'s decreasing death rate.

Data from 1998 to 2007 shows major gains on HIV infections (down 36 percent), pneumonia/influenza (down 54 percent) and strokes (down 35 percent). Jonathan Fielding, the county's director of public health, adds:

As a county, we're making great headway against the top two killers, coronary heart disease and lung cancer. The rate of death due to coronary heart disease plummeted by 38 percent over these past 10 years, while the rate of death due to lung cancer decreased by 23 percent.

According to the county, the leading causes of death in L.A. are:

1. Coronary heart disease

2. Homicide

3. Motor vehicle crash

4. Drug overdose

5. Liver disease

LA Weekly